FanDuel, Caesars Say Ohio Applications Are Coming Soon As Deadline To Assure Jan. 1 Launch Looms

A total of nine applications for sports betting licenses were submitted during the first two weeks of the application window.
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Two weeks into the first window for submitting applications for sports betting licenses in Ohio, an anticipated rush of applicants has yet to occur.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission received a total of nine sports gaming license applications through June 25. Two of the largest mobile sportsbooks, BetMGM and DraftKings, were among those that applied for sports betting licenses during the first 14 days that the commission welcomed applications from stakeholders. FanDuel, the other largest mobile sportsbook, did not seek a sports betting license by the time the commission released its most recent list of applicants last Friday afternoon.

BetMGM, which has market access through the company-owned MGM Northfield Park Racino, submitted applications for mobile management services provider and management services provider licenses on June 15, which was the first day that applicants could apply. DraftKings submitted an application for mobile management services provider licenses under the Crown Ohio Gaming name on June 22.

Griffin Finan, DraftKings vice president-government affairs, stated via email, “We are looking forward to working with the Ohio Casino Control Commission and we are excited for the opportunity to introduce Ohio sports fans to our top-ranked mobile sportsbook, pending licensure and regulator approvals.”

Applications still in the works

Caesars Sportsbook, which has an agreement with the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers that includes building a retail sportsbook inside Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, did not make a submission through the first two weeks of the first application window. However, a Caesars Sportsbook official made it clear that Caesars Sportsbook will be in play in Ohio right from the universal start date next New Year’s Day.

“We’re going to be there Jan. 1,” said the Caesars Sportsbook representative, who asked not to be identified. “There’s no reason to believe that we won’t be there Jan. 1. We’ll be there.”

If that’s the case, then Caesars will need to apply by the close of the first application window on July 15, as the OCCC is only guaranteeing approval for a Jan. 1 launch to those that apply by July 15.

The two-week tally of applicants is far fewer than what the total is expected to look like at year’s end. The law states that the commission can offer up to 25 Type A licenses and up to 40 Type B licenses to prospective stakeholders. Type A stakeholders include casinos, sports teams, and venues offering mobile betting, while Type B stakeholders are brick-and-mortar facilities furnished with betting windows and self-service kiosks.

Ohio Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler approached the application submission period suggesting that stakeholders expecting to be cleared to operate on the universal start date should submit their applications during the designated application periods.

According to the Sports Gaming Implementation Timeline, the first application window closes on July 15 and is designated for stakeholders that include those that are interested in Type A and Type B licenses. The second application window, which runs from July 15 to Aug. 15, is designated for stakeholders that include those interested in obtaining Type C sports gaming host licenses, under which establishments such as bars can provide betting kiosks.

JACK Entertainment submits applications

JACK Entertainment properties – JACK Cleveland Casino and JACK Thistledown Racino – are the only brick-and-mortar facilities to have applied for Type A and Type B sports betting licenses thus far.

Yet, all 11 racinos/casinos are expected to apply for sports betting licenses.

Penn National Gaming, which owns four Hollywood casinos/racinos in Ohio and operates the Barstool Sportsbook, is in the process with its applications, according to a source. Penn National Gaming’s flagship property in Ohio is Hollywood Casino Columbus, so it would follow that the company would most likely tether its Barstool Sportsbook to that location.

Caesars Entertainment owns Scioto Downs Racino, which already promotes signing up on the Caesars Sportsbook app. Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati is expected to use its own sportsbook.

None of the 10 Ohio-based pro teams/events has submitted an application yet. They’re expected to apply for licenses, particularly those that already have established relationships with mobile sportsbooks.

The NFL Cleveland Browns have an established partnership with Bally’s; the MLB Cincinnati Reds with WynnBET; the NBA’s Cavaliers with Caesars and Fubo Gaming; MLS Columbus Crew with Tipico Sportsbook; PGA Tour’s Memorial Country Club with betPARX; the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton with Rush Street Interactive and Genesis Global; and NASCAR has market access deals with BetMGM, DraftKings, Fubo Gaming, and Penn National Gaming.

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